Home robberies can be devastating, even more so for people who run a home-based business.
While the average loss during a burglary is over $2,000 dollars, that number can rise if you have a home business. This is due to operation disruptions—especially if you don’t have business insurance. That’s why small business owners should try to minimize the risk of a burglary, and any consequences should one occur. Here are key things to consider.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive, With the Basics
Robberies may seem like something that happens to other people. Because of that, preventive measures—like an alarm system—often aren’t implemented until after a burglary has happened. Don’t wait. A security system should be your top priority, considering that one study found that 60 percent of burglars said alarms lead them to seek other targets.
“You have to realize you’re not only protecting your personal effects, but you’re protecting your business with that alarm system,” says Tim Bradley, a Certified Protection Professional at GlobalSecur Consulting Services. Likewise, don’t overlook other basics: ensure you have strong passwords for your computer and cloud back-up system, in case the former is stolen. Also, consider options like video surveillance, deadbolt locks and powerful lighting inside and outside. “Being proactive saves you money,” says Tony Gallo, managing partner at Sapphire Risk Advisory Group (SRAG).
Don’t Conduct Business at Home
“There’s no real need for people to even know where you’re conducting your business from if it’s a home-based,” says Bradley. Your home is your sanctuary—even if you run your business from it. Ideally no one else should come in, even clients.
To avoid meeting with people in your home, hold meetings elsewhere, perhaps at a coffee shop, a client’s office or a shared workspace. Consider using a P.O. box or virtual office as your business address so your house can’t be easily traced.
The most obvious impact of a robbery is loss of equipment like computers, tablets and printers. But a robber’s access to your records may be even more detrimental to your business, especially if compromised data includes client information, such as credit card numbers, or confidential internal documents, like sales forecasts.
“If you’re maintaining client confidential data, you have an obligation to secure that for the client,” says Bradley. “If you have a breach, or somebody steals your laptop to get client data that’s sensitive and leaks it out somewhere, that will probably sever that relationship for you.”
That’s why encryption is another crucial measure. You may already have some encryption in place via programs on your computer. “Almost all software designers have some sort of security protocol,” says Gallo. “The software vendors that you’re dealing with should be able to give you sufficient security for their product.” But don’t take that at face value. Do your due diligence. Be sure you know exactly what you have in place, and what security gaps you need to fill.
Don’t Assume Home Insurance is Enough
If your business is run from home, it still needs its own theft protection, even if your home is insured. If your home business is robbed, consider that there’s the cost of replacing equipment, as well as lost productivity, and lost clients if you didn’t safely encrypt their data. As Early as possible, talk with your insurance provider to figure out what additional coverage you need to protect your home-based business. With the right coverage and these safety tips, you can help minimize the risks and damage of a robbery to your home business.